Teacher Resources

How to Not Burnout as a Yoga Teacher

How to Not Burnout as a Yoga Teacher 1080 1080 Nate Guadagni

In the US there are over 100,000 yoga teachers registered with the Yoga Alliance and countless more world wide.

Since I began teaching yoga full time 15 years ago, I have experienced and seen the incredible gifts that teachers and students can gain from learning, practicing and sharing yoga.

While many instructors see teaching as a fun side hustle or a hobby, there are the many who have found their calling and made it a career.

Whether you are dabbling or devoted, all yoga teachers must build their practice and career upon these 3 Pillars if they are to experience fulfillment and sustainable growth.

These 3 Pillars are:

  1. Learning from other Teachers

  2. Maintaining a Personal Practice

  3. Teaching and Sharing with Others

Each Pillar positively supports and enriches the others. You apply what you learn into practice, then teach others.

The synergy that is created from this virtuous cycle leads to joyful, sustainable growth and balance.

Although there are countless benefits we will receive from our teachers, our practice and our students, I have found there are 3 Gifts that stand out; Knowledge, Power and Awareness.

These Gifts are borne from the interaction between two of the Pillars and each come with a Teacher Archetype.

The light of each of these Gifts also casts one of the 3 Shadows.

The Philosopher Archetype enjoys learning from a teacher, and teaching others, yet lacks the Pillar of Personal Practice.

The Philosopher gains the gift of Knowledge and with it the potential Shadow of Hypocrisy.

Most people start yoga by finding an inspiring teacher.

They embody the values and qualities we seek for ourselves. They have a magnetic energy and presence that makes us want to spend time with them and to emulate them.

They inspire us, challenge us and care about us, and impart their teachings to us.

We follow them to become a yoga teacher and begin to share what we have learned with our own students.

However, if we begin to neglect our Personal Practice and only teach from knowledge we will soon hear the hollowness in our words. We lose presence and repeat phrases and cues mindlessly and forget the inquisitiveness and curiosity we had when it was new. We will find that we have a teacher persona but when we go home and there are no teachers or students around, we are a completely different person.

The feeling of Imposter Syndrome will emerge and Hypocrisy will set in.

The antidote to this Shadow is to immediately recommit to our own personal practices and engage in the solitary inner work that no one else can do with or for us.

The Monk Archetype loves learning from a teacher, and has a dedicated personal practice, yet does not teach or share with others.

The Monk gains the gift of Empowerment and with it the potential Shadow of Indifference.

There are those who have the great fortune to have found a worthy teacher and have dedicated themselves to a regular and disciplined personal practice.

They have gained physical, mental and emotional power and have shored up insecurities and weaknesses gaining tremendous confidence and impressive skills.

However, one who accumulates too much power and does not share it will eventually suffer from callousness, self absorption and indifference.

They will become blind to the suffering of others and hoard these gifts for themself.

The antidote to this Shadow is to pay the teachings forward and to share their own personal stories of growth. Students thrive not only on the potent legacy of yoga, they crave to know how these teachings have shaped the personal life of their teacher as well.

The Guru Archetype has a dedicated personal practice, teaches other regularly and effectively but no longer has any Teachers.

The Guru gains the gift of Awareness and with it the Shadow of Egotism.

The profound awareness that comes from a deep and dedicated personal practice creates a magnetic power that draws students.

They see others to the depth that they have seen themselves and can look through the facade and defenses others hide behind.

They tap into a well of inner wisdom and insight that illuminates precise and subtle awareness into the bodies and minds of their students and they can impart powerful healing and transformation.

Their insights and awareness allow them to innovate and create new systems while shedding old rules and they often challenge the status quo.

They may become controversial leaders and many of them are revered as Gurus.

However, as the status and the respect for this teacher grows, they often will no longer see the need to have their own teacher, feeling that they have found the Truth and have nothing more to learn.

Instead of feeding upon the guidance and teachings from other leaders, they consume the reverence and resources of their students and can become intoxicated.

We have all seen the heartbreaking fall from grace when this Shadow of Egotism consumes Gurus and teachers.

The antidote to feeling that you are the most Enlightened person you know is to immediately seek out those you can respect as a teacher. Having the humility to maintain a connection to other teachers and peers is essential to balancing this leadership position.

Neglecting one of the 3 Pillars invites the 3 Shadows, yet neglecting 2 of the Pillars creates these 3 Tragedies.

 

1. The Over-Achiever Tragedy : Burnout

The first and most common of the 3 Tragedies is what happens when a teacher becomes so consumed with teaching classes, they lose their own personal practice and they lose connection with their teachers. This leads to Burnout.

It is a very sad situation indeed because it is precisely the love that this teacher has for their students that keeps them going.

They would give their time, energy and even work for free if it means they can help someone else, and they often do.

Even though they extoll the benefits of self care, they can’t remember the last time they said no to others and yes to themselves.

Without the energetic and inspirational input from other teachers they will begin to feel like broken records teaching the same sequences and unable to imbue passion or excitement. Without the personal experience to find energetic and spiritual alignment their timing and instincts will be off. Their words will say one thing and their bodies the opposite. 

A vicious cycle ensues and due to the drain of energy and inspiration, students will disperse and classes will dwindle. This will then require the teacher to either teach more classes or spend more time on marketing, which can further drain their resources until one day the willpower runs out.

Those approaching Burnout must immediately recommit to a personal practice and find either a teacher or a community of peers for support and inspiration.

It is ideal if this is a relationship with a personal connection, however a one way relationship with an online teacher is better than none.

It would also be wise to seek guidance and inspiration in other fields and disciplines. Your personal practice will be influenced by those whom you follow and will enrich what you teach.

2. The Eternal Student Tragedy : Delusion

The next of the 3 Tragedies is what happens when a teacher becomes so consumed with learning, they neglect their own personal practice and they rarely teach. This leads to Delusion.

The teachings never pass through the tests of real life or real people, remaining trapped in the head as concepts only.

Eternal Students often collect certificates and take many workshops, retreats and personal sessions yet rarely apply this knowledge.

Because they don’t put into practice what they learn, they don’t embody the teachings and lack confidence to teach.

Their minds are full of good information, yet they cannot attract their own students because they lack the magnetic power that comes from a dedicated personal practice.

Teachings that are memorized yet not embodied cannot be delivered with presence or impact.

Their desire for approval and recognition blocks their ability to sense their own gifts and intuition.

They would benefit from the words of the Bhagadva Gita;

“It is better to live your own dharma imperfectly, than to live someone else’s dharma perfectly.”

Acceptance and self awareness are antidotes to Delusion and can be found first in a dedicated Personal Practice. 

This would be the first Pillar to establish before seeking students to teach.

How long will it take and how will you know when you’re ready to teach?

As the old saying goes “When the student is ready, the teacher appears,”

However, it also follows that “When the teacher is ready, the students appear.”

 

3. The Lone Wolf Tragedy : Stagnation

The last of the 3 Tragedies is what happens when a teacher becomes so absorbed in their own practices they cut ties with their teachers and students. This leads to Stagnation.

Because this Tragedy does not involve others, it does not leave a damaging effect on the community at large, rather an invisible missing piece.

It may not even appear tragic because in the absence of students or their own teacher, this teacher’s potential is not realized, and therefore isn’t missed.

Often the isolation this person seeks is because of a painful past leading to ruptured trust and/or the fear of being seen. 

They are like a lightbulb still in the box, filled with potential brilliance, yet fragile and disconnected.

They are suspicious of leaders and teachers. They avoid egomaniacs and sniff out charlatans immediately.

Because their rituals have been a life preserver they will not easily part with it until they are sure they are on dry land.

They have very high standards and it will take a special teacher, worthy of trust and tempered with integrity to inspire this person to share their gifts.

The discipline and persistence that has been honed from a deeply personal and often inexplicable spiritual devotion will make this teacher particularly powerful and influential once they are ready to embrace and share their gifts. 

It is actually an imperative because the nature of spirituality is evolution and growth and they cannot suppress it forever without consequence.

As Jesus is quoted in the Gospel of Thomas:

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

To the degree of this teacher’s potential, this will be the degree of their suffering to withhold it.

This teacher must begin the search for a worthy teacher and be willing to accept their influence. 

Because the idea of teaching others feels too much like controlling them, they shouldn’t try to teach. Instead just be willing to share themselves and their practices with others. Let those who come have their own experience and gain their own lessons. 

The art of not teaching can often be the most powerful teaching of all.

Hopefully the 3 Pillars can be a template to help diagnose and treat the common pitfalls and traps that will inevitably face teachers on their path.

There will certainly be times when you neglect one, two or even all three of these Pillars, I know I have.

Although your practice and career can survive temporary lapses in these relationships, the 3 Shadows and 3 Tragedies will come from neglecting them long term.

Once recognizing the problem, we can begin to introduce solutions and rebalance.

The gifts that teaching yoga can provide are too great to give up easily. I encourage you to reflect on these 3 Pillars when teaching no longer seems to give you the benefits it once did.

May you experience the true Joy, Growth and Freedom that teaching in harmony with the 3 Pillars can provide.

 

 

Baby Boomer Bo Yoga

How to teach Yoga to Boomers

How to teach Yoga to Boomers 1800 1200 Nate Guadagni

The Yoga Alliance / Yoga Journal Study in 2016 showed that:

  • There are over 40 Million yoga practitioners (up from 20 million in 2012) Double in four years!
  • 4 Million were 50+ in 2012 – 14 Million are 50+ in 2016 – Boomers are the fastest growing segment!
  • 74% of students have been practicing for 5 years or less – there are still lots of beginners.
  • 50% of practitioners are health conscious – they are open to other health related products or services.

There were several objections from those who don’t start yoga:

  • Perceptions of exclusivity
  • Yoga is for young people
  • Yoga is for flexible people
  • Yoga is for women

We’ve got to change that!

I want to show you why serving the older adult popular can be the BEST niche for your yoga business.

Fun facts about Boomers

  • Between the ages of 57 – 75 (in 2021)
  • They are the largest population in America (Millennials are close behind)
  • They are the wealthiest, and most active
  • They hold 70% of all disposable income in US (Nielson)
  • They do 80% of all luxury travel spending (retreats abroad anyone?)
  • They have the largest amount of health issues and problems (They NEED yoga!)

By 2030, there will be three times as many people over the age of 65 than there were in 1980 (this age group will continue to grow)

Here are a few of their top health issues:

Diabetes – Heart Disease – Cancer – Depression – Arthritis – Stress – Obesity

Yoga has been shown to help manage symptoms of all of these and perhaps prevent them.

 

Benefits to yoga teachers who teach Boomers

  • They are a large, underserved market
  • They are more loyal
  • More stable in income, relationships and location
  • They don’t change their lives as much, find something and stick to it
  • They are more tech savvy than you think:
    • 96% of baby boomers use search engines,
    • 95% use email
    • 92% shop for products and services online rather than shopping in stores
    • 60% of baby boomers spend time reading blogs and online articles
    • 82.3% of baby boomers belong to at least one social media site. (Source DMN3)

Facebook is by far the most popular social media site for baby boomers. (Source Colorado University)

Ok I’ve convinced you WHY you should teach them, now HOW to teach Boomers?

Modification, modification, modification

  • Find ways to modify poses and offer alternatives
  • Demonstrate the easiest version first, then work your way to more challenging (Not the other way around)
  • Think about what is the essence of the pose? How can they gain the benefit in a different way?

Use Props!

  • Using props is the default setting, not the extra option.
  • They need to Opt out of the prop, instead of Opt in.
  • People follow the teacher and they follow the crowd, take the pressure off them.
  • Make props normal not remedial.

Slow your roll!

  • One breath one movement is probably too fast (I’m talking to you Vinyasa!)
  • Up and down from the floor is challenging
  • Use Perceived Effort Scale not “as far as you can”. (Hold until you reach 80% fatigue)
  • You can still challenge students without straining them
  • Let students measure perceived effort rather than pose performance

Goals and motivation

  • They are less motivated to do the pose for the pose’s sake
  • They have more realistic and practical goals

Private Sessions

Boomers are perfect private session candidates.

  • They can generally afford it
  • They need it more than other students
  • They want it and appreciate the relationship more than you may realize

How to market to Boomers

The platform you choose is key.

Instead of making hilarious TikTok videos, meet them where they are!

  1. Email is still #1. Build your email list and keep in touch regularly. Don’t always sell, add value in each email.
  2. Referral from a friend. Make it easy to refer to you. Offer first-class-free-for-friends. They will bring them!
  3. Facebook: create engaging content, groups and events. Make a presence there for inbound inquiries.
  4. Community events (in person) Go to the local AARP meeting. Go to the Alzheimers Walk. Get involved!

Consider your message:

  • Do the models and images you show reflect their lives and concerns?
  • You may not be your target market, put yourself in their shoes.
  • Your sexy Instagram post may look great to others like you, but repel Boomers

Can you find older models and more diverse body types, ethnicities?

Let them tell the story!

Share stories from other Boomers who have benefitted (Testimonials with pictures)

Understand their needs and desires and challenges

Design classes, themes and sequences that can help them with practical issues like balance, lifting and carrying and hiking.

  • Build real relationships, find out about their family, travels or history.
  • Talk with them before and after class
  • Find out what they are struggling with and help them with it

I hope this helps you better serve this wonderful population.

What did I miss?

Let me know what you think in the comments!
Bo Yoga Teacher Training

Become Certified to Teach

Become Certified to Teach 2538 1418 Nate Guadagni

Learn how to incorporate this revolutionary new prop to your practice and classroom.

What is it?

YACEP Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider Program
  • The Bo Yoga Certified Instructor Course is an opportunity to deepen your practice, expand your profession and serve your community.
  • It qualifies you to be able to teach Bo Yoga and apply the Balance Bar to any yoga or fitness system with confidence and competence for free or for profit.
  • An accessible, self-paced distance learning program.
  • YACEP (Yoga Alliance Certified Educational Program) which gives Yoga Alliance teachers Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Who’s it for?

  • You are a Yoga, Qi Gong, or Pilates Instructor, Personal Trainer, Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, Doctor, Social Worker, or Counselor who wants to offer a great tool to your clients or patients.
  • You want to help your friends and family improve their balance, energy and mindfulness.
  • You are a dedicated student who wants to take your personal practice deeper.

What’s in it?

40 Hour Course includes:

    • 5 Hours Pre-Course curriculum.
    • 25 Hours Main Training over 5 Weeks
    • 10 Hours Post-Course curriculum.
    • Comprehensive materials, videos, community connection and resources.
  • Five-year License to teach Bo Yoga®, use its branding and be featured on the Bo Yoga website.
  • Lifetime membership to the Bo Yoga Instructor Network.

Who’s teaching it?

Nate Guadagni – RYT-500 Founder of Bo Yoga® has taught yoga, qi gong and meditation full time for over 13 years. He has managed six successful yoga and wellness studios in three major US cities.

Nate is the creator of the Balance Bar, a unique and innovative prop that makes mindful movement accessible to more people. He is the author of Bo Yoga: 7 Essential Values to Energize your Life and produced 3 DVDs and numerous online courses.

He regularly teaches in national yoga festivals such as the San Diego Yoga Festival, the Sedona Yoga Festival and the LA Yoga Expo.

Nate currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his love Roya surrounded by the Pacific Northwest splendor.

What will I learn?

  • Become an expert in the main uses of the Bo Yoga Balance Bar:
    • Alignment / Balance / Rotations / Spins / Martial Arts / Myofascial Release
    • Learn how to apply the Balance Bar to any yoga style, fitness system or group of people.
    • Relevant Anatomy / Physiology / Pathology
  • Instructor Skills
    • Safety / Sequencing / Observation / Speaking / Pacing / Cues / Adjustment / Demonstration / Class Management / Music / Lights / Temperature / Props
  • Business Principles and Skills
    • Marketing / Professional Communication / Student Management / Online / Networking / Content Creation / Technical Skills

What can I do with this training?

  • Enrich your current practice or share it with friends.
  • Teach Bo Yoga group classes or apply the Balance Bar to your existing system.
  • Lead Private Sessions with new tools and skills.
  • Start or expand your own business or practice.

When, where and what’s included?

Check the next training schedule and view parts of the Instructor Manual HERE.

Delivered live, online. All you need is a device and wifi.

Includes:

  • Instructor Manual
  • Lifetime access to Bo Yoga videos and training materials
  • Lifetime access to the online Bo Yoga Instructor Network

What are the Pre-Requisites? 

  • Have your own Balance Bar

To Receive a Bo Yoga® Certificate you must have:

  • 200 Hour RYT training or another teaching certificate (Pilates/ Personal Trainer, etc)
  • If you want to take this course for personal enrichment and not use the Bo Yoga brand in your marketing you don’t need any prior training.

What’s it cost?

40 Hour Certification Course: $500

Payment plans are available by request.

What’s do graduates say?

Donna ONiel Bo Yoga

“I’ve been teaching yoga for 22 years, and am aging along with my students. 

What I’m loving is that the Balance Bar can help people who may not be able to balance well, or to hold a pose very long, to be able to maximize the benefit.  

Learning to lighten up the touch on the bar as confidence builds in the student gives them the opportunity to work their core and build strength and stability.””

— Donna O’Neil, 67  – Yoga Teacher

“I really just love training with Bo Yoga and I love sharing it with others. I feel the best probably since being a little kid. And I have a purpose to work towards, which is important! 

Teaching Bo Yoga has brought me joy, wisdom, health, strength, purpose, friends and teachers to deepen my growth.

Bo Yoga Merilee Sitting Twist

This passion for Bo Yoga has given me a new lease on life! I anticipate teaching for the rest of my life. 

I’ve never felt more connection, sharing and love than I do right now. Thank you!

— Merilee Novinson, 70
Retired Finance Manager

I’m in! How do I register?

  • Click HERE to go to the registration page.
  • Receive a confirmation email with further instructions.

I’ve got more questions…

Great, please e-mail me:

Nate@Boyoga.com

I look forward to hearing from you!

“I don’t know about you, but teaching yoga is not something that I envisioned myself doing when I was a kid! I only knew that I had a strong passion and interest in self-development and self-discovery and the stories of enlightened yogis and monks who have found the deepest bliss and unconditional love through the inner journey resonated with me deeply. I knew in my heart of hearts that if they could do it, so could I and anyone else for that matter. As I grew up, I saw the incredible suffering that the Yoga Sutras say is caused by Avidya, ignorance. Ignorance of the divine nature and interconnection of all humans and life forms. Ignorance of the power that we have regardless of what others do or don’t do. Ignorance of the solutions to all of our problems which are available at all times when we know where to look.

I used to envision the spiritual path as a long and winding road, or a huge mountain to climb. I used to think it was somewhat romantic or the result of superhuman effort and sacrifice.

The great living sage Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that the spiritual journey is only about 18 inches… “just as far from your head to your heart.”

Bo Yoga is, in essence, a path back to our true nature. One of many, not the first and certainly not the last. As we become more friendly and loving to ourselves, we can be the same way to others. As we recognize our own value and potential we can see it better in others and in the world. Bo Yoga will grow or shrink as much as we do and support the awakening of the planet as much as we awaken ourselves.

Nate Guadagni headshot

I hope that Bo Yoga helps you and your students gain the power, passion and purpose to live a life guided by your Dharma and illuminated by your inner light.”

Namaste, Nate

Bo Yoga®